Come walk with me………..
One of the things I am really enjoying while being on maternity leave is my daily walk with Matteo around Florence, especially now as the weather is starting to improve. When he was first born, it was a pleasure to pop him into the Baby Bjorn and go for a nice walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo but now that he is 6 months and weighing about 9kg, the Baby Bjorn has been replaced with the pram.
One of my favorite little walks around central Florence starts at Via de Cerchi which leads away from Piazza Signoria if you have Palazzo Vecchio at your back. This narrow street is the home of Osteria i Buongustai, one of our fave eateries located in the center – a great local trattoria where you can watch everything being made in the kitchen as you enter. It is so tiny inside though that there is no room for a pram and so therefore, it has been a bit difficult to visit with Matteo and we haven’t been there for a few months now. Directly across the road is ‘Mauro Frutta e Primizie’ where you cannot walk by without admiring the fruit and vegetable display. It is a merchandiser’s dream with it’s postcard perfect arrangements. The produce seems fake with the bright vibrant colours and uniformity. This is where I buy my sweet potatoes if I haven’t made it to the central Mercato San Lorenzo as ‘patate dolce‘ are not easily found in Florence.
Halfway down Via de Cerchi, you arrive at Piazza de’ Cimatori where you can buy one of the best panino al lampredotto or ‘una vaschetta di trippa‘ (tripe in a bread roll). We love stopping here for a late lunch on a Sunday when we are having one of those lazy days where you realise it is 3pm and you still haven’t had lunch!
Continue on down Via de Cerchi until you arrive at ‘Via del Corso’, cross over to Via S. Elisabetta and continue along this street until you get to the end where you will arrive at Via Dell’ Oche and then turn right. At the end on the left is the Paperback Exchange, the English bookshop that has been around since 1979. This is a really lovely store and where I like to pick up my copy of The Florentine, the ‘English speaking local newspaper’.
As you continue past the bookshop, you arrive at the intersection of Via dell’Oche and Via Dello Studio. Look left and you are met with the ever so impressive towering Duomo (first photo in this post) and then cast your eyes to the right and you will find Pegna, the oldest supermarket in Florence and which really deserves a dedicated post so I promise to add some more details in the future about this Florentine landmark that has been around since 1860! This is definitely worth a wander inside, and for any foreigners feeling a bit homesick, you are sure to see some difficult-to-find products and ingredients from home. Pegna stocks the finest quality Tuscan foods, hand made pasta, gourmet items such as fois grois, cheeses from every region in Italy and a very impressive wine selection too. Here you can also buy the famous Florentine Torta Pistocchi which I wrote about in my last post, The Festa del Cioccolato.
Once you have dragged yourselves away from Pegna (and I’m sure parted with a few euro too), continue on down Via Dello Studio back to Via Del Corso.
Turn right and walk under the arch above following the directions to the Casa di Dante. I debated whether to photoshop the graffiti on the photo above but then thought, what a great display of art – the very old and the very new!
As you walk under the arch, you pass this ‘hole-in-the-wall’ trippaio where you can buy a panino of lampredotto. I always feel like I am a time traveler as I walk under here as it really transports one back in history.
The photo above looks back at the house and Museo di Dante with the arch that you just walked under in the background. Looking ahead you are back at Via Dante Aligheri and you can zig-zag your way back through the narrow streets (avoiding the main strip of Via del Calzaiuoli) until you are back at Piazza Signoria. You will come across many more gorgeous hidden shops and trattorias along this little walk. I never tire of these streets and the new discoveries I make each day here.
I hope you enjoy this little tour as much as Matteo and Me!